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Review: The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan

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Hold up! Before you read on, please read this...

This post was published more than 5 years ago

I keep old posts on the site because I often enjoy reading old content on other people's sites. Not everything that is old is bad. It can be interesting to see how views have changed over time: for example, how my strident teenage views have mellowed and matured.

But given the age of this post, please bear in mind:

  • My views might very well have changed in the 5 years since I wrote this post. I have written some very silly things over the years, many of which I find pretty embarrassing today.
  • This post might use language in ways which I would now consider highly inappropriate or offensive.
  • Factual information might be outdated.
  • Links might be broken; embedded material might not appear properly.

Okay. Consider yourself duly warned. Read on...

I was really attracted to the idea of this book: 39 passengers on a lifeboat struggling for survival, making tough choices, and operating within a tricky ethical and moral framework.

But the book didn’t live up to its promise. The characters were poorly developed, and I simply didn’t care about them. The single first-person narrative structure lessened the reader’s ability to interpret the situation from multiple points of view. This problem is worsened by the narrator being a dull, submissive, self-centred bore. There are too many flashbacks to the time prior to the sinking of the ship, and too much of the story is set after the final passengers have been rescued. The dilemmas were framed in the predominantly Christian ethical framework of the early 20th century, which was very limiting. And, predictably, there was a church figure amongst the passengers on the lifeboat. Even reading that last sentence alone, you can probably guess his fate.

This is a short book, but it was a struggle to plough through. It had enjoyable moments and passages, but the narrative structure of the story and the period in which it was set both conspired to constrict the moral and ethical superstructure to such an extent that it ceased to be interesting.

In summary, the premise is great, but the execution is poor.

The Lifeboat is available now from amazon.co.uk in paperback and on Kindle.

This 1,834th post was filed under: Book Reviews, .






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